Trump administration eyes tariffs on US$2.4 billion in French imports

Trump administration eyes tariffs on US$2.4 billion in French imports

In this Nov. 20, 2014, file photo, bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine are displayed in a wine store at Issy Les Moulineaux, outskirts of Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File) WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is proposing tariffs on up to US$2.4 billion worth of French imports — including Roquefort cheese, handbags, lipstick and sparkling wine — in retaliation for France’s tax on American tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative charged Monday that France’s new digital services tax discriminates against U.S. companies. The trade office will accept public comments on the tariffs, which could hit 100%, through Jan. 6 and hold a hearing Jan. 7. The French tax is designed to prevent tech companies from dodging taxes by putting headquarters in low-tax European Union countries. It imposes a 3% annual levy on French revenues of digital companies with yearly global sales worth more than 750 million euros ($830 million) and French revenue exceeding 25 million euros. The U.S. also criticized the French tax for targeting companies’ revenue, not their profits, and for being retroactive. The decision to pursue tariffs "sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on U.S. companies," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. His agency investigated the French tax under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 — the same provision the Trump administration used last year to probe China’s technology policies, leading to […]

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